As a job seeker, you create mountains of content with your cover letters, resumes, and portfolios. You’re most likely spending many hours sifting through descriptions of open positions, reworking your portfolio for specific jobs, and revising your cover letter for the same reason. And when you receive the call for a job interview, the work begins all over again, polishing up your resume one last time and reviewing your portfolio.
Creating these credentials is an important step in the job search process. But, amid all the major components, you need to make sure you are not missing the essential steps in the writing process. Recall back to 3rd or 4th grade if you can when you were made to learn about the steps of the writing process: prewriting, drafting, revising, proofreading and finally publishing.
While you’re not exactly publishing your material, and the prewriting and drafting are most likely taken care of already, it is important not to lose sight of steps three and four: revising and proofreading. Often these words are used interchangeably, but they really pertain to different aspects of written content, and these specific steps can easily be applied to preparing your credentials.
Revisions take place when you make a change to the central ideas or content within your resume, cover letter, or portfolio piece. Proofreading requires a trained eye to look for mechanical mistakes, such as grammatical errors, subtle changes in diction or syntax, and even formatting issues on your resume. Your computer may catch logistical errors to do some preliminary proofreading. Plus, you most likely have a good grasp on your experience and qualifications to write a strong cover letter that needs minor revision. However, it never hurts to have a second, or even a third, pair of eyes review your materials before they’re sent off or handed over in a job interview. Another proofreader can be a fellow job seeker, a career counselor, dear old mom and dad, or anyone in between.
As you hand them your prepared credentials, ask each one of them this question: by looking at the qualifications I’ve highlighted and the previous experience I’ve included, what sort of job do you think I am applying for? If they answer that correctly from the content of your cover letter and resume, then those credentials you have most likely don’t need much revision. You can also depend on their experience to guide your revisions and proofing. Focus on what material is just fluff in your resume. Conversely, are there places in your cover letter where you can add a sentence or two more in order to flesh out the qualifications you gained from a specific experience?
Most likely, another reader will come across errors that you simply happened to miss after repeated readings. You’ll be grateful for their catch. It’s never too late to look back to your elementary years and refresh yourself on the writing process. It’s as relevant now, if not more so, as it was when you were writing wondrous fiction about princesses and dragons.
IMAGE: Courtesy of Flickr by Matt Hampel